Language

Aloha kākou! (Hello everyone)

Today is February 1st, which means it is also Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Language Month).

I wanted to talk a little about the importance of language. Understanding and speaking another language gives you the understanding and the framework of a culture. Sentences and phrases translated to English are not always accurate because there might not be a way to express exactly what it says. Furthermore, to understand a language other than English, is to also understand how it fits into your actions and your every day life.

In Hawaiʻi, speaking Hawaiian was banned after the illegal overthrow (1893) and schools no longer taught the language (1896). The culture began to fade as less generations began to speak, to learn, and understand. There was a revitalization in the 1970s by Larry Kimura. He advocated for Hawaiian immersion schools to start teaching the language again. This was an important movement for Hawaiians. A large population of native people did not know their own language! How could they? It was banned from being taught, and English quickly replaced it. We do not have many Manaleo (native speakers) left, a lot of the Hawaiian you hear being spoken today is an institutionalized version (ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi).

Today, ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi is an official language (alongside English), but there are still a huge percentage of people that live here, were born here, and grew up here that cannot speak or understand fluently. I started teaching myself, very slowly, about year ago. I became distracted and never laid out a plan to stick to. Now that I have more time on my hands, I really wish to move steadily forward. I am almost ashamed of myself because I feel like I should know more. I still cannot formulate sentences on my own, and that is pretty disappointing –

This month is inspiring me to push myself harder. I have joined Facebook groups, followed many Hawaiian speaking social media accounts, and have purchased a few books but I always seem to get distracted.

If you have any suggestions for me, I would so appreciate it! Even from the perspective of someone learning any other language. Itʻs a process and learning without a set curriculum is actually really hard.

Momoe aku i mua (Move forward with determination)

Happy Curl, Happy Girl

Signing off,

Curly Island Girl

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